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Tamworth v Dartford

Dartford will wish for their goal drought to end on Bank Holiday Monday as they seek victory against Tamworth at the Lamb Ground.

When the Darts visited the Lambs in December they suffered a second defeat to their opposition. The home side repeated the opening day scoreline edging out Tony Burman’s men by a single goal in five.

On loan defender Semi Ajayi put the Darts in front with a header on his debut but the tide turned when Tom Bonner was sent off for deliberate handball, Tamworth’s Scott Barrow scored from the resulting penalty. With twenty minutes remaining Danny Harris scored to put the side with ten men ahead. The lead lasted until the final five minutes, Barrow netting his second penalty which Burman felt was ‘a bit harsh’. Tamworth took the lead for the first time that afternoon when the now retired ex Premier League midfielder Lee Hendrie scored the winner two minutes from time.

Adam Birchall remains the only player to have netted for the Darts this season in the opening day victory against Alfreton Town. Yet again Burman’s side failed to breach the opposition defence on the weekend going down to a 2-0 home defeat versus Braintree Town. The loss is Dartford’s third in succession, a run similar to the start they made last term. Alan Massey gave the Iron a second half lead with a header and former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum finished the Darts off in the final minute.

Like Dartford, the Lambs lost two players to Cambridge United in the summer. The most influential was Adam Cunnington who scored 21 league goals for the Staffordshire club last term, netting a brace against the Darts in last season’s opener. The 25 year old striker teams up with former Darts, Tom Bonner and Tom Champion.

The Lambs replacement for Cunnington is experienced striker Justin Richards, the new number nine has started three matches but has yet to open his account in front of goal. The 32 year old was part of the Port Vale side that knocked Dartford out of the F.A Cup first round after a replay in November 2010. More experience has been brought to the Lamb Ground with the signings of former Northern Ireland international Tony Capaldi and defender Wayne Thomas.

Another familiar face will be Jack Evans who often came off the substitute bench for the Darts, the defender spent a loan spell at Princes Park last campaign scoring twice in 15 appearances as a midfielder. The former Gillingham youngster was signed by Dale Belford to replace Tait and has so far played all four matches under the Lambs boss.

In their opening four games Tamworth have picked up two more points than the Darts remaining unbeaten at home thanks to two draws. The season started with a 1-0 away victory over newly promoted Salisbury City, Wayne Thomas scoring the winner in the first half. A goalless draw followed at home to Barnet and a creditable 2-2 stalemate versus Wrexham, Jake Jones gave Tamworth the lead and Darren Byfield scored a late equaliser. On Saturday, the Lambs travelled to Hereford United and were beaten by a solitary goal which saw Duane Courtney red carded.

Team News

Dartford were back to full strength on Saturday, Tyrone Sterling made his debut and Ryan Hayes returned to action.

Last Meeting at The Lamb Ground

1 December 2012 –  Tamworth 3 Dartford 2 – Att: 832

Goalscorers: Ajayi (16), Barrow (56 pen), Harris (70), Barrow (85 pen), Hendrie (88)

The Lambs Lineup: Severn, Tait, Courtney, Oji, Taylor, Kelly, Baldock, Kerry, Barrow, Moke, Cunnington (subs used: Till, Wright, Hendrie)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Ajayi, Bonner, Rose, Champion, Bradbrook, Hayes, Noble, Harris, Erskine (subs used: Rogers, Crawford, Collier)

Match Stats

tamworth v dartford stats
Stats

3 – The percentage of shots that have turned into goals for Dartford, the lowest ratio in this season’s Conference Premier

29 – Corners won by Tamworth in the first four matches, more than any other side this campaign

318 – Minutes since Dartford’s last league goal

The last time Dartford went three league games without a goal was five years ago during their first Isthmian Premier League season. The barren spell lasted from 16 August 2008 to 23 August 2013 and was broken on Bank Holiday Monday which resulted in a win.

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